Officer Has Knack For Finding Stolen Cars, Over 2,000 So Far

Feb 22, 2019, 6:21 PM | Updated: 6:45 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Many years ago, Patrol Officer Rod Hunt made a habit of looking out for stolen cars during his downtime on the job. He’s since recovered well over 2,000.

When he’s not going from call to call, Officer Rod Hunt is often checking his computer, and cross-referencing his own notes for some of the most recent stolen car reports in the area. He keeps a close watch on some of the more frequented areas in the Glendale neighborhoods.

“You have to know the area, because people don’t buy new cars, every three, four months,” Hunt said. “I would drive by in the morning, and I would see if there are any cars that don’t belong.”

Hunt says he developed the skill toward the beginning of his 29 year career. It was something to help keep him busy during the overnight shift.

“Come around three o’ clock, it’s slow,” Hunt explained. “And you want to take a nap. So basically, I had to find something to keep me awake.”

Hunt’s superiors noticed his knack for finding stolen vehicles. They started keeping track, about 11 years ago, and on Thursday presented him with an award for racking up about 730 stolen vehicles recovered during that time.

Patrol Captain Ty Farillas, awarding Officer Rod Hunt with an award for recovering 730 stolen vehicles over the past eleven years.(Credit Salt Lake City Police Department)

Hunt says his career-long total is closer to somewhere over 2,000.

“You cannot find a stolen car, sitting in one location,” Hunt said. “You have to know where to go.”

Within 20 minutes of a KSL ride-along with Hunt, he spotted a stolen Chrysler sedan.

What caught his eye, he said, were two things.

First was the fact that it was parked with the windows left open in the cold. Second was that it was left next to the train tracks, in an area that doesn’t get a lot of visibility.

Hunt often puts himself in the shoes of the criminal, pointing out that thieves often steal, just to get from point A to point B.

“Why would you leave it here?” he asked. “If I steal this car, and I’m going to work, where would I park so that nobody sees me get out of it?”

Officer Rod Hunt, checking a stolen car to see if there’s anyone inside.

The Chrysler sedan’s owner, Curtis Gresham later showed up, dropped off by a taxi.

“I felt great, man,” Gresham said, describing how he reacted to hearing from Hunt. “They were on that really, really fast. I’m totally impressed. I would say within 12 hours.”

Hunt says patrol officers like himself are typically busy, rushing from call to call. He doesn’t get as much time as he used to, to look out for stolen vehicles. When he does get the time however, he says it’s worth it.

“Yeah, it’s therapy for me,” Hunt said, smiling. “It’s just fun to come out here, and do something and make a citizen feel good, like ‘hey, that was my life. I needed that car.’”

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Officer Has Knack For Finding Stolen Cars, Over 2,000 So Far